Cold Moist Stratification of Milkweed Seeds
Winter sowing milkweed seeds is the natural way to break their dormancy. The cycle of freeze and thaw mixed with occasional rain or snow does two things. First, the seeds coat is physically scraped by movement over the dirt. Second, the inner biology is adjusted because the seed has been imbibing water over the winter. Once the warm days arrive in late spring seed is prepared for grow.
Repeat success indicates that the process works!
CMS with showy milkweed seeds
On 2/18/17 I prepared seven baggies with showy milkweed seeds. Pictured is midway thru the process. On the left I am in step 7. Dormant seeds are spread on the moist paper towel.
CMS with woollypod milkweed seeds
In May 2017 I purchased woollypod milkweed seeds on ebay and began the process of CMS to prepare them to grow. These seeds are really big! The seeds were collected in the fall of 2016 and began dormant.
Step 12 looks easy. Waiting can be the hardest part. Give the seeds 40 to 60 days in the refrigerator. My fridge has a temperature display on the door. Looks like the seeds are about 37 degrees.
Step 15 is pretty cool to see. The seeds are growing right inside the baggie! Time to take the seedlings out of the paper towel and get them in the ground. Some of the seeds root is piercing thru the paper towel. Just pull the towel apart and be careful not to harm the seeds root.